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Ad blockers get round Facebook

News, 15 August 2016

NEW YORK: Coming just days after Facebook announced it was introducing a new tool to help users have more control over the ads they see, one of the world's most used ad blocking companies has said it has found a way round the measures.

Adblock Plus used a blog post to inform its users that it had created new code that could be used once again to remove Facebook ads from the news feed, Adweek reported.

Ben Williams, Communications and Operations Manager at Eyeo, the German parent company of Adblock Plus, described the situation as a game of "cat and mouse" as he predicted that Facebook's next circumvention "might come at any time".

He went on to say that there had been a "back and forth battle between the open source ad blocking community and circumventors" ever since ad blocking was invented.

Facebook said last week that its initiative was not aimed at filtering out all ad blocking, but instead to slow the user experience down for those determined to use the software.

"Facebook is ad-supported. Ads are a part of the Facebook experience, they're not a tack on," Andrew Bosworth, VP of Facebook's ads and business platform, said at the time.

However, with Adblock Plus finding a way round the restrictions within just two days, the next question is what Facebook will do next.

For the moment, the social media giant has expressed its disappointment, but sources told TechCrunch that the company will soon launch an update to nullify Adblock Plus' workaround.

"We're disappointed that ad-blocking companies are punishing people on Facebook as these new attempts don't just block ads but also posts from friends and Pages," Facebook said in a statement.

"This isn't a good experience for people and we plan to address the issue. Ad blockers are a blunt instrument, which is why we've instead focused on building tools like ad preferences to put control in people's hands."

Data sourced from Adweek, TechCrunch; additional data by Warc staff